If you’re trying to be more self reliant, and watch what your family eats, you might want to make your own homemade ketchup. While ketchup from the store is cheap, it’s really NOT healthy. And making your own ketchup is super easy!

For this episode of the Self Reliant Skill of the Week, I made my very own homemade ketchup – from scratch!

Since I had never made ketchup before, I needed some direction. I used this ketchup recipe from The Free Range Life.

I modified it slightly for what I had on-hand. The only thing I included that I didn’t already have in my kitchen was celery seed. I knew that the celery seed would add a great flavor to the ketchup so I went to the store and bought it.

Why should I make my own homemade ketchup?

There are a few reasons why you should consider making your own ketchup. Let’s talk about those, then we’ll dive into the process of making it.

Store-bought ketchup is unhealthy

Store-bought ketchup is really not healthy. Let’s look at the bottle of ketchup I have in my fridge – regular ketchup from Del Monte.

Homemade ketchup doesn't have the artificial ingredients that store-bought ketchup does

In case you missed it (sorry, it’s a little blurry!), it has both corn syrup AND high-fructose corn syrup. In other words, each tablespoon is LOADED with sugar. Not only that, but too much high-fructose corn syrup can lead to insulin resistance, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure, according to the Cleveland Clinic. You can read more about the dangers of high-fructose corn syrup here.

In this ketchup, the tomatoes used are already processed down into “tomato concentrate”, so that really makes me question how much nutritional value these tomatoes have. I mean, it’s possible they’ve just been simmered down, like I did to make my homemade ketchup, but who knows?

The onion used for this ketchup is “onion powder”, which means it’s already been dehydrated. So again, that limits the nutritional value of the onions.

So if your kids pile on the ketchup, they could be getting lots of empty calories with a helping of high-fructose corn syrup. Not a great choice for growing bodies!

It can be cheap if you grow your own

If you have a vegetable garden (and I suggest you do!), you can pretty cheaply grow enough tomatoes to provide your family with lots of tomato products. Spaghetti sauce, tomato soup, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and yes, even ketchup, can be produced from the tomatoes you grow. But you’ll really only see the cost savings if you grow your tomato plants from seed.

While you may not be able to make your homemade ketchup for as cheap as the cheapest store-bought ketchup, it can still be very cost-efficient.

It can be canned for long-term storage

Since ketchup is a tomato-based product with very little ingredients, it can be safely canned in a water bath canner. Which means you CAN can it for long-term storage, even if you’re intimidated by your pressure canner (like me!).

How long canned ketchup can be stored is a matter of personal preference, however, the National Center for Home Food Preservation (NCHFP) recommends using all home-canned goods within a year. But I’ve heard of people using canned foods that were 5 years old or even older. Your kitchen, your rules!

Because homemade ketchup tastes better

Like most homemade goodies, homemade ketchup tastes much better than store-bought. This ketchup recipe is very easy, and can be customized to your preferences. If you don’t want any added sugar, don’t add it! Don’t like paprika? Leave it out! Do you like an extra kick? Add more hot spices!

Since you’re making your own, you can add or leave out whatever you want. You just might find you like homemade ketchup so much more than you ever liked store-bought!

Homemade ketchup simmering down

Homemade ketchup recipe

  • 5 pounds tomatoes (I used frozen ones from my garden last year)
  • 1 onion
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 – 3/4 cup white vinegar
  • 3/4 tablespoon Kosher or table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • dash of black pepper


Start with more than 5 pounds of tomatoes. I say “more than” because you will need to core and de-seed your tomatoes, and still have 5 pounds left to cook down.

If you use paste tomatoes (which I recommend), you will have much smaller cores and seeds to remove. Plus, the tomatoes have more “meat” on them, and less juice. Which means they will cook down easier and faster.

You will want to use a scale for this, and zero it out after you put your pot on the scale. Then add the tomatoes until you have put 5 pounds of tomatoes in the pot.

Chop up one whole onion, and 3 or 4 cloves of garlic, then add this to the pot of tomatoes. Put it on medium-low heat and let simmer for 1 hour. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Put the mixture in a high-speed blender until pretty smooth.

Return your tomato mixture back into the pot, and add the vinegar, sugar, and spices. Return to medium-low heat and simmer for 3 hours, or until you reach desired ketchup consistency. It will smell like sloppy joe’s! Blend again with your high-speed blender. Store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks, or you can water bath can the ketchup.

If you are canning your homemade ketchup, pour the hot ketchup into half-pint jars. Wipe the rims, attach the lids and rings, and place in water bath canner. Process for 15 minutes after the water is boiling.

This recipe should make 4 half-pint or 2 pint jars.

Here is a video of my very first time making homemade ketchup. As you can see, it really is easy!

Are you going to make homemade ketchup?

So, are you going to make homemade ketchup this year from your bounty of tomatoes? Or have you already made it? Please share your experiences in the comments so we can all learn together!



  1. Love this post!! I’m crazy about learning how to make things from scratch! I recently tried making our ketchup from scratch, though I used purchased tomato products like paste and sauce for it. It felt so empowering!

    I didn’t get the flavor quite right for our taste, but now that I know how to make ketchup I feel I can experiment til I get it how we like it. You can bet this summer I’ll be using my homegrown tomatoes! 🍅 ❤️ And thanks you I now will blend in fresh onions from the garden as well. Thank you for sharing this!!

    1. Hi Lisa, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post! The ketchup really does have a great flavor. I gave it to some kids that were over and they all liked it and were impressed that I made it. It really made me proud!

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